Employing the case of theredwood Headwaters forest in rural NorthernCalifornia, this paper investigates the extentto which an anti-corporate progressive alliancebetween labor and the environmentalmovement ispossible in contemporary global capitalism.Progressive alliances between labor and theenvironmental movement have been historicallydifficult. This has been particularly the casein the timber industry, where companies havebeen able to mobilize workers againstenvironmentalists' designs. The caseillustrates the events that led to the purchaseof the Headwaters Forest by the state ofCalifornia and the Federal Government fromPacific (...) Lumber. This is a subsidiary of Maxxam,a corporation with interests in a variety ofeconomic sectors. The objective was to haltMaxxam's rampant deforestation of old growthredwood. Though conflict between labor andenvironmentalists existed, the casedemonstrates that the labor and theenvironmental movement were united againstMaxxam. They, however, were not completelysuccessful in their struggle as Maxxam greatlybenefited from the state-sponsored landpurchase. Maxxam gained economically, was ableto shape the ideological framework throughwhich the purchasing agreement was achieved,and extended its hegemony over the state. Thisoutcome cast doubts on the possibility thatcurrent forms of environmental protection couldtranscend commodified and reductionistpostures. Simultaneously, the existence of acommon anti-corporate consciousness among largesegments of labor and the environmentalmovement makes the environment a contestedterrain and allows for some optimism about thefuture of the struggle for ecologically soundsocial arrangements. (shrink)
Insufficiently radical environmentalism is inadequate to the problems that confront us; but overly radical environmentalism risks alienating people with whom, in a democracy, we must find common cause. Building on Paul Ricoeur’s work, which shows how group identity is constituted by the tension between ideology and utopia, this essay asks just how radical effective environmentalism should be. Two “case studies” of environmental agenda—that of Michael Schellenberger and Ted Nordhaus, and that of David Brower—serve to frame the important issues of (...) cooperation and confrontation. The essay concludes that environmentalism must lead with its utopian aspirations rather than its willingness to compromise. (shrink)
Until the 1990s environmental non-governmental organizations focused on 'issues' to raise public awareness. Recently it appears that though awareness of environmental problems has increased, the high media profile and superficial 'greening' of politics and business have actually exacerbated people's feelings of helplessness and detachment. Greenpeace UK is currently addressing its strategies to counter this change.
The local food movement is, increasingly, becoming a part of the modern American landscape. However, while it appears that the local food movement is gaining momentum, one could question whether or not this trend is, in fact, politically and socially sustainable. Is local food just another trend that will fade away or is it here to stay? One way to begin addressing this question is to ascertain whether or not it is compatible with liberalism, a set of influential (...) political theories that have shaped and continue to shape our political system. In this paper, I argue that the local food movement is partially compatible with forms of liberalism that accept the limited application of the principle of neutrality, as there are two directions or trends within local food: (1) The systems based direction and (2) the individual focused direction. The systems based direction is not compatible while the individual focused movement is largely compatible with liberalism. I go on to argue that the two directions form a dialectic that increases the political and social sustainability of the movement as a whole. Conceiving of the individual focused and the systems focused directions as in opposition to one another is, itself, a mistake. (shrink)
We think Hall (2013) is correct in arguing that the environmentalmovement needs a stronger narrative and believe that such a narrative requires significant nuance. Hall rightly recognizes the importance of appropriately framing the current narratives appealed to by the environmentalmovement. They are too simplistic and, as such, misleading. The optimistic frames tend to ignore the real losses people experience in trying to live greener lifestyles. The ‘doom and gloom’ frames are apt to foster a (...) sense of hopelessness rather than motivate change. However a stronger narrative, as we think Hall would agree, requires that the more qualitative, multifaceted, and mutable nature of value be considered. (shrink)
Charting the origins of the modern ecology movement over more than two thousand years, this volume gives a voice to those hidden from history, revealing "green" themes within artistic and scientific thought. This title available in eBook format. Click here for more information . Visit our eBookstore at: www.ebookstore.tandf.co.uk.
One of the key questions to have exercised green political theorists in recent years concerns the relationship of the environment 'agenda' and democracy. Both environmentalists and democrats have a tendency to think of each other as natural bedfellows but in fact there is little theoretical or practical reason why they should be. Indeed some theorists have argued that the environmentalmovement has grown from fundamentally authoritarian roots and it is arguable that the only really effective way of implementing (...)environmental politics is by imposing them in an authoritarian manner. This book deals with the tensions between democracy and environmentalism from a variety of theoretical and empirical perspectives. (shrink)
Environmental pragmatism is a new strategy in environmental thought. It argues that theoretical debates are hindering the ability of the environmentalmovement to forge agreement on basic policy imperatives. This new direction in environmental thought moves beyond theory, advocating a serious inquiry into the merits of moral pluralism. Environmental pragmatism, as a coherent philosophical position, connects the methodology of classical American pragmatic thought to the explanation, solution and discussion of real issues. This concise, well-focused (...) collection is the first comprehensive presentation of environmental pragmatism as a new philosophical approach to environmental thought and policy. (shrink)
Postmodernism and the Environmental Crisis is the only book to combine cultural theory and environmental philosophy. In it, Arran Gare analyses the conjunction between the environmental crisis, the globalisation of capitalism and the disintegration of the culture of modernity. It explains the paradox of growing concern for the environment and the paltry achievements of environmental movements. Through a critique of the philosophies underlying approaches to the environmental crisis, Arran Gare puts forward his own, controversial theory (...) of a new postmodern world view. This would be the foundation for the environmentalmovement to succeed. Arran Gare's work will be a vital reading for advanced students of environmental studies, as well as for environmental philosophers and cultural theorists. (shrink)
The recent growth in organic farming has given rise to the so-called “conventionalization hypothesis,” the idea that organic farming is becoming a slightly modified model of conventional agriculture. Using survey data collected from 973 organic farmers in three German regions during the spring of 2004, some implications of the conventionalization hypothesis are tested. Early and late adopters of organic farming are compared concerning farm structure, environmental concern, attitudes to organic farming, and membership in organic-movement organizations. The results indicate (...) that organic farming in the study regions indeed exhibits signs of incipient conventionalization. On average, newer farms are more specialized and slightly larger than established ones and there is a growing proportion of farmers who do not share pro-environmental attitudes. Additionally, a number, albeit small, of very large, highly specialized farms have adopted organic agriculture in the last years. However, the vast majority of organic farmers, new and old ones included, still show a strong pro-environmental orientation. (shrink)
In science and environmental studies, there is a general concern for the democratization of the expert-lay interplay. However, the democratization of expertise does not necessarily lead to more sustainable decisions. If citizens do not take the sustainable choice, what should experts and decision makers do? Should the expert-lay interplay be dissolved? In thinking about how to shape the expert-lay interplay in a better way in agro-biodiversity conservation, I take the case of the MST (Movimento Sem Terra/Landless People’s Movement), (...) possibly the largest rural movement in Latin America. The MST is in a process of turning towards environmentalism. It has adopted agroecology, a democratically oriented knowledge field. However, not all of the farmers were willing to adopt new environmentalist ideas and practices. Through ethnographic research, I analyze how expertise was recognized and redistributed within the MST, attending particularly to the role of MST coordinators and technicians. I explore how participation was framed and put into action. The adoption of agroecology brought to the MST a new and more inclusive map of expertise, but it also influenced new social distinctions within the communities. In part, farmers’ knowledge was labeled as ignorance. This may close down possibilities for dialogue as well as for sustainability. The paper suggests that experts’ power for discriminating among lay knowledges should come together with a responsibility for opening spaces for dialogue and action. One way of doing so could be by adding “interactional reflexivity” to experts’ expertise. (shrink)
The term “environmental justice” carries with it a sort of ambiguity. On the one hand, it refers to a movement of social activism in which those involved fight and argue for fairer, more equitable distribution of environmental goods and equal treatment of environmental duties. This movement is related to, and ideally informed by, the second use of the term, which refers to the academic discipline associated with legal regulations and theories of justice and ethics with (...) regard to sustainability, the environment, and ecology. It is this latter, more academic—though vast and interdisciplinary—use of the term that is the subject of this essay. However, activists who pay careful attention to the arguments offered with regard to the political, legal, social, and philosophical treatments of these issues are potentially in a stronger position with regard to their own social movement. In that way, the two uses of the term may progress hand in hand. More broadly, however, the foundational claim about which both grassroots activists and legal, ethical, and policy advocates can agree is that environmental burdens—climate change, pollution, and their associated health risks—are borne disproportionately by the poorest and most vulnerable populations, and tend to have the greatest impact on racial and ethnic minorities, no matter where they are in the world. This is what makes the empirical questions about the environment a normative question about justice. (shrink)
Educated people everywhere now acknowledge that ecological destruction is threatening the future of civilization. While philosophers have concerned themselves with environmental problems, they appear to offer little to deal with this crisis. Despite this, I will argue that philosophy, and ethics, are absolutely crucial to overcoming this crisis. Philosophy has to recover its grand ambitions to achieve a comprehensive understanding of nature and the place of humanity within it, and ethics needs to be centrally concerned with the virtues required (...) to create and then sustain economic, social and political formations that augment the life of ecological communities. Achieving these ends will involve reviving speculative philosophy and its quest to forge a synthesis of natural philosophy, history and art to enable humanity to redefine its place in the world, both collectively and as individuals, in very practical ways. Such a synthesis is required to oppose the corrosion of democracy and to revive the virtues of citizenship and the sense of responsibility citizenship entails, but more fundamentally and intimately related to such citizenship, to oppose managerialism and the proletarianization of the workforce and to revive workmanship and professionalism as the foundations of not only economic life, but social and political life. (shrink)
In this article we examine the specific contributions Native American thought can make to the ongoing search for a Western ecological consciousness. We begin with a review of the influence of Native American beliefs on the different branches of the modem environmentalmovement and some initial comparisons of Western and Native American ways of seeing. We then review Native American thought on the natural world, highlighting beliefs in the need for reciprocity and balance, the world as a living (...) being, and relationships with animals. We conclude that Native American ideas are important, can prove inspirational in the search for a modem environmental consciousness, and affirm the arguments of both deep ecologists and ecofeminists. (shrink)
In its restless metamorphosis, the environmentalmovement captures ideas and transforms them into principles, guidelines and points of leverage. Sustainability is one such idea, now being reinterpreted in the aftermath of the 1992 Rio Conference. So too is the precautionary principle. Like sustainability, the precautionary principle is neither a well defined principle nor a stable concept. It has become the repository for a jumble of adventurous beliefs that challenge the status quo of political power, ideology and civil rights. (...) Neither concept has much coherence other than it is captured by the spirit that is challenging the authority of science, the hegemony of cost-benefit analysis, the powerlessness of victims of environmental abuse, and the unimplemented ethics of intrinsic natural rights and inter-generational equity. It is because the mood of the times needs an organising idea that the precautionary principle is getting a fair wind. However, unless its advocates sharpen up their understanding of the term, the precautionary principle may not establish the influence it deserves. Its future looks promising but it is not assured. (shrink)
Environmental pragmatists have presented environmental pragmatism as a new philosophical position, arguing that theoretical debates in environmental philosophy are hindering the ability of the environmentalmovement to forge agreement on basic policy imperatives. Hence, they aim to lead environmental philosophers away from such theoretical debates, and toward more practical—and pragmatically motivated—ones. However, a position with such an aim is not a proper philosophical position at all, given that philosophy (among other things) is an effort (...) to get clear on the problems that puzzle us. (shrink)
Aarne Naess, in a seminal paper on environmental philosophy, distinguished between two streams of environmental philosophy and activism—shallow and deep. The deep, long-range ecology movement has developed over the past four decades on a variety of fronts. However, in the context of global conferences on development, population, and environment held during the 1990s, even shallow environmentalism seems to have less priority than demands for worldwide economic growth based on trade liberalization and a free market global economy.
The modern environmentalmovement has a tradition of respect for indigenous cultures and many environmentalists believe that there are important ecological lessons to be learned from studying the traditional life styles of indigenous peoples. More recently, however, some environmentalists have become more sceptical. This scepticism has been sharpened by current concerns with the cause of indigenous rights. Indigenous peoples have repeatedly insisted on their rights to pursue traditional practices or to develop their lands, even when the exercise of (...) these rights has implications in conflict with environmentalist values. These conflicts highlight some important questions in environmental ethics, particularly about the degree to which global environmental justice should be constrained by therecognition of indigenous rights. I explore some of these issues and argue for the relevance of the “capability approach” to environmental justice. (shrink)
Ecofascism as a tradition in Environmental Ethics seems to burgeoning with potential. The roots of Ecofascism can be traced back to the German Romantic School, to the Wagnerian narration of the Nibelungen saga, to the works of Fichte and Herder and, finally, to the so-called völkisch movement. Those who take pride in describing themselves as ecofascists grosso modo tend to prioritize the moral value of the ecosphere, while, at the same time, they almost entirely devalue species and individuals. (...) Additionally, these ecofascists are eager to reject democracy, the idea of progress in its entirety, as well as industrialization and urbanization. They also seem to be hostile towards individual autonomy and free will. In this short essay I will present and discuss Kaarlo Pentti Linkola’s approach to environmental ethics, one that could be well described as the epitome of Ecofascism. I will argue that his arguments are neither sound nor documented, and I will conclude that Linkola’s overall approach is, in my view, contrary to the purpose as well as to the very essence of morality. (shrink)
This paper uses the case of the Nanda Devi Biosphere Reserve to illustrate how ecotourism can be a vehicle for environmental justice. I use discourse analysis and the politics of scale to argue that an expanded notion of environmental justice does account for the myriad movements for resource rights occurring all over the world. In this case, framing the struggle through ecotourism with a focus on social justice provided local people a way to engage the mainstream environmental (...)movement and address the injustices of its exclusionary and biocentric practices while providing for themselves a viable livelihood option. (shrink)
This article argues that teachers of environmental ethics must more aggressively entertain questions of private property in their work and in their teaching. To make this case, it first introduces the three primary positions on property: occupation arguments, labor theory of value arguments, and efficiency arguments. It then contextualizes these arguments in light of the contemporary U.S. wise-use movement, in an attempt to make sense of the concerns that motivate wise-use activists, and also to demonstrate how intrinsic value (...) arguments miss the mark. Finally, it offers some suggestions about further directions for environmental ethics, reasoning that there is a good deal of headway to be gained for environmental ethics by accepting that nature can be owned as property, but nevertheless engaging the idea of private property critically. (shrink)
The American environmentalmovement has a longstanding tradition of respect for American Indians. Recently, however, there has been a noticeable erosion of that tradition. The most volatile issues in the Indian/environmentalist controversey at present are those involving the right of many Indians to hunt and fish unrestricted by state or federal conservation regulations. Especially where endangered species areinvolved, some environmentalists have been quick to recommend that this unique privilege accorded to Indians be curtailed. While I share a deep (...) concem for the preservation of endangered species and ecosystems, I suggest that the environmentalmovement has so far been insensitive to the concems of the American Indian community. Rather than simply seeking to take away rights to which Indians havebeen entitled for decades, environmentalists should be prepared to negotiate on such matters. As an example, I suggest that-in exchange for the Indians’ voluntary surrender of some of their treaty rights--environmentalists might agree to seek legislation opening national forest lands to Indians who wish to live subsistence life styles, as some Alaskan wildemess lands are now open to the Inuit. (shrink)
The North American environmentalmovement has historically sought to redress the depletion and degradation of natural resources that has been the legacy of the industrial revolution. Predominant in this approach has been the preservation of wilderness, conservation of species biodiversity and the restoration of natural ecosystems. While the results of such activity have often been commendable, several scholars have pointed out that the environmentalmovement has inherited an unfortunate bias against urban environments, and consequently, a blind (...) spot to ways in which densely populated built spaces can serve to enhance rather than degrade efforts to achieve sustainability. After exploring this concern we argue that environmental architecture can serve as a counter-balance to this bias, focused, as it is, on the ways in which the construction and organisation of built spaces for humans can help or hinder the pursuit of environmental priorities. But if environmental architecture is to take this role then it must be understood in a broader context, one which does not exclude other moral, political and aesthetic values in the production of human environments. We will highlight several examples of how environmental architecture has combined success and failure at taking a broader view of environmental questions, with a specific focus on one green skyscraper that may be good for the natural environment but not necessarily for the human environment of the city. (shrink)
The origin of this special issue is in my experience as Laurence S. Rockefeller Visiting Professor for Distinguished Teaching in the University Center for Human Values at Princeton University. Since one of my duties at Princeton was to teach an undergraduate class, I decided to teach a course on Ethics and the Environment. The class was taught in the Woodrow Wilson School for Public and International Affairs, and also cross-listed with the Philosophy Department. My suggestion that the course also be (...) cross-listed with the Princeton Environmental Institute was greeted with surprise. After all, this was a course on ethics. What could it possibly have to do with the Princeton Environmental Institute? Environmental institutes are about science, not philosophy; at least this is what the administrator in charge seemed to think.At that moment I decided to organise a workshop on environmental values bringing together humanists, social scientists and natural scientists to discuss this topic. I wanted to invite outstanding researchers in the area of environmental values, and subject their papers to the scrutiny of Princeton scholars. I hoped that this might have positive spillover effects on students and the university community at large. To a great extent, I think, these hopes were realised.The workshop was held on 2 May 2005. Two panels were devoted to particular dimensions of environmental values, and a third panel analysed conflicting values in the climate change debate. For each panel there was a discussant, and Gustav Speth, the Dean of the Yale School of Forestry and Environmental Studies, gave the keynote address. With the exception of the keynote address and one paper presented in the climate change session, this special issue includes all of the papers delivered at the workshop. However, the papers have been revised, refereed, and revised again since their original presentation.The papers by Emily Brady, Holmes Rolston III, and Dana Philips discuss aesthetic and spiritual dimensions of environmental values. Brady's paper is aimed at showing how aesthetic valuing is embedded in our relationships with nature and how it underpins many of our attitudes toward the environment. For these reasons such values are and ought to be important to environmental policy debates. Philips begins with a careful reading of Thoreau, but arrives at an iconoclastic stance towards the role of nature writing in environmental valuation. While he grants that such writing has been important in the development of the American environmentalmovement , he observes that such 'inspiration' risks producing 'both purple prose and poor doctrine', citing some examples. Rolston declares that ethics and religion are central to questions of environmental policy. For the sciences, including economics, cannot tell us how to value nature. He concludes with a frankly religious appeal: 'If anything at all on Earth is sacred, it must be this enthralling creativity that characterises our home planet. If anywhere, here is the brooding Spirit of God.' In her discussion of these papers, Susan Stewart observes that the assertion of the centrality of aesthetic considerations to environmental policy sometimes seems to be a matter of wishful thinking, at least when compared to the grim calculus of short-term economic gain. What is needed, Stewart suggests, is to free environmental policy-making from 'the short leash of necessity' and refocus it instead on the superfluity of experience given to us by nature.Thomas Dunlap, Thomas Hill Jr., and Kimberly Smith focus on moral, political, and religious values. Chiming with Rolston, Dunlap claims that environmentalism is ultimately a religious movement, and that this explains much of its power and passion. Acknowledging its 'roots in secular faiths and conventional religion may be necessary' to reignite environmentalism, which has become stalled, at least as a political movement in America. Hill, by contrast, proposes to show 'without metaphysical obscurity or undue anthropocentrism, how and why it is good to value certain natural phenomena for their own sakes and to recognise and respond appropriately to the value they have ... independently of human rights and welfare'. Kimberly Smith surveys environmental political theory, focusing on the rising idea that nature is not just an object of politics, but also a subject. In his commentary, Michael Smith expresses scepticism about Dunlap's claims. He draws on Hill's paper to show that environmentalism may be justified on a number of different grounds, thus there may be no conceptual reason to advert to religious justifications. Moreover, even if it is true that environmentalism originated in a religious sensibility, it does not follow that returning to these roots would be most politically potent in forwarding the movement. A highly contextualised empirical argument about political tactics would be required to secure this conclusion. Finally, Michael Smith voices some suspicions about Kimberly Smith's idea of nature as a subject, and in particular her treatment of the social contract tradition.The issue concludes with papers on climate change by Steve Gardiner, Michael Toman and Michael McCracken, and a commentary by Peter Singer. Toman reviews the debate over the role of economics in setting climate change policy. He goes on to sketch a way in which technical economic analysis and public dialogue might be combined. McCracken wants to explain more generally why, in the United States at least, there is so much political controversy over climate change even in the face of growing scientific consensus. The reason, he claims, is that both the public and policy-makers are subjected to diverse interpretations of the evidence. Different communities 'spin' the science in ways that suit their own interests. Gardiner argues that climate change is a 'perfect moral storm' that presents us with almost insuperable obstacles to our ability to make the hard choices necessary to address it. Most disturbing, this perfect storm makes us extremely vulnerable to moral corruption. Singer agrees with much of the diagnosis presented in these papers, but he thinks that McCracken lets the Bush administration off the hook too easily. Sometimes the best explanation for bad policy is bad policy-makers who have bad values. Singer sketches his own version of a just solution to the climate change problem, and concludes by speculating that self-interest may yet provoke the United States into acting responsibly. Many people helped to make the workshop and the publication of this special issue possible. Princeton University in various guises provided funds, space, and organisational resources. Several members of the faculty, especially William Howarth, Stephen Macedo and Francois M.M. Morel, were unflinching in their support and generous with their advice. The editors of Environmental Values, particularly Clive Spash who oversaw the production of this issue, have been both enthusiastic and efficient, while ensuring that the issue conforms to the highest standards of professional scholarship. Hovering in the background are those anonymous scholars who reviewed the papers and made many suggestions for improvements, as well as the administrative support staff at both Princeton and Environmental Values who helped bring the event and the issue into existence. Finally, I would like to thank the contributors both for their cooperation and contributions.In my opinion, almost anyone can find something to learn from each of these papers. However, the best way to read them is not singly, but in light of each other. Taken as a whole, the papers in this issue approach questions about environmental values from various perspectives, backgrounds, and concerns. Whatever else may result from the publication of this issue, I hope that it will constitute one small step towards making clear that environmental questions are not narrowly confined to particular disciplines or departments of knowledge, but are best approached from multiple perspectives, drawing on a wide range of materials, methodologies and expertise. (shrink)
The attitudes of the American public toward the environmentalmovement may be undergoing change as the economic crunch continues and energy shortages reoccur. The principles underlying the environmentalmovement need to be defined and examined carefully to determine what makes sense for our changing conditions. In this paper an attempt is made to express the two primary ethical principles which have evolved from environmental thinking and, in turn, have influenced the directions taken by the (...) class='Hi'>movement. It is argued that these principles must not be accepted uncritically, but rather must be analyzed and subsequently modified to become compatible with more traditional ethical thinking. Such a synthesis is attempted in the paper. The modified principles can provide valuable guidance as we make difficult decisions which can influence the future path of life on Earth. (shrink)
In 1972 a public choice model predicted that the incipient environmentalmovement in the United States would grow but encounter overwhelming industrial opposition. Twenty years later we find the model overstated this opposition. Environmental pressure groups were able to pass substantial legislation, resist counter forces, and reduce most targeted pollutants. A revised public choice model predicts that the success of the present global environmentalmovement depends on information flows between scientists and the public on the (...) potential costs of deterioration, and means for reducing the costs of regulation such as relying more on market incentives. (shrink)
A leading international expert on environmental issues, Shrader-Frechette brings a new standard of rigor to philosophical discussions of environmental justice in her latest work. Observing that environmental activists often value environmental concerns over basic human rights, she points out the importance of recognising that minority groups and the poor in general are frequently the biggest victims of environmental degradation, a phenomenon with serious social and political implications that the environmentalmovement has failed to (...) adequately address. She argues for their equal rights to 'environmental justice' and maintains that they should not have to bear most of the weight of the burdens of pollution and resource depletion. Advocating a greater awareness on the part of professionals in a position to help these victims, Shrader-Frechette proposes a more equitable distribution of environmental resources and, in doing so, makes an important contribution to the fields of environmental ethics and applied philosophy. (shrink)
While the contemporary biomimicry movement is associated primarily with the idea of taking Nature as model for technological innovation, it also contains a normative or ethical principle—Nature as measure—that may be treated in relative isolation from the better known principle of Nature as model. Drawing on discussions of the principle of Nature as measure put forward by Benyus and Jackson, while at the same time situating these discussions in relation to contemporary debates in the philosophy of biomimicry : 364–387, (...) 2011; Dicks in Philos Technol, doi: 10.1007/s13347-015-0210-2, 2015; Blok and Gremmen in J Agric Environ Ethics 29:203–217, 2016), the aim of this paper is to explore the relation between the principle of Nature as measure and environmental ethics. This leads to the argument that mainstream formulations of environmental ethics share the common trait of seeing our ethical relation to Nature as primarily involving duties to protect, preserve, or conserve various values in Nature, and that, in doing so, they problematically either overlook or dismiss as anthropocentric the possibility that Nature may provide measures, understood in terms of ecological standards, against which our own practices, or at least some of them, may be judged—a way of thinking I call “biomimetic ethics”. The practical consequences of this argument are significant. Whereas mainstream environmental ethics has been applied above all to such issues as wilderness preservation, natural resource management, and animal rights and welfare, biomimetic ethics is applicable rather to the question of how we produce, use, and consume things, and, as such, may potentially provide the basic ethical framework required to underpin the transition to a circular, bio-based, solar economy. (shrink)
The sustainability movement, currently gathering considerable attention from architects, derives much of its moral foundation from the theoretical initiatives of environmental ethics. How is the value of sustainability to mesh with architecture’s time-tested values? The idea that an ethic of sustainability might serve architects’ efforts to reground their practices in something that opposes consumer values of the marketplace has intuitive appeal and makes a certain amount of sense. However, it is far from obvious that the sustainability movement (...) provides a strong enough conceptual framework for an entire designphilosophy. This issue is complicated by two different sustainable design outlooks which parallel two conceptions of environmental ethics: the practical and the radical. Neverthleless, sustainability need not resort to the philosophical excess of its radical branch to help foster a new public-spiritedness. (shrink)
The paper proposes two ideas: (1) The wilderness preservation movement has failed to identify key elements involved in situations of environmental conflict. (2) The same movement seems unaware of its location within a tradition which is both elitist and Puritan. Holmes Rolston's recent work on the apparent conflict between feeding people and saving nature appears to exemplify the two points. With respect to point (1), Rolston's treatment fails to address the institutional and structural features which set the (...) agenda for individual human lives. The human ecology of environmental destruction cannot ignore the role of corporate actors such as banks, national governments, transnational corporations, trade unions and so on. These agents interact with each other in various ways and also have an internal structure – perhaps akin to Arthur Koestler's conception of the holarchy - which enables people working within them to avoid taking responsibility for policies that have damaging environmental consequences. As far as thesis (2) is concerned, Rolston's work shares common features with Arne Naess's deep ecology and Aldo Leopold's land ethic. All of these writers draw, perhaps unconsciously, on a tradition of sporting elitism associated with the Great White Hunter. One variety of this tradition combines elitism with a form of Puritanism. (shrink)
Over 20 years ago the Programme Director of Greenpeace UK identified the primary challenge facing the modern environmentalmovement as that of moving beyond the “struggle for proof” to generating effective environmental action. There is a mass of widely-accepted evidence to support environmentalist claims, but effective environmental action is rare, both at governmental and at grass-roots levels. Arguably, the malaise is less a political one than an ontological one. We “know” that environmental problems are “real”, (...) but we fail to grasp them as happening here, to us. It is as if they unfolded in a “media-only reality”. This ontological malaise can be understood along Heideggerian lines as a form of world-alienation. Alienation is often understood, following Marx, as estrangement from our true human nature, consequent on interpreting ourselves as mere resources. On Heidegger’s view, however, self and world are inextricably linked. Conscious beings are not trapped inside their own heads, never to bridge the gap to the world outside. Rather, consciousness just is the intentional reaching out to things. Heidegger’s view of the self-world relation implies a modified concept of alienation. Our alienated condition stems as much from interpreting the world around us as a mere resource as it does from interpreting ourselves as mere resources. We may understand the natural systems on which our lives depend in far more detail than our grandparents did; but where those systems are understood as brute agglomerations of objects the resulting knowledge is alienated and alienating. Our very “theory of the real” serves to make the earth unreal for us. This, I argue, is the true import of Heidegger’s concern with the world “conceived and grasped as picture”. It also illuminates his remark in the 1966 Der Spiegel interview: “It is no longer upon an Earth that man lives today.”. (shrink)
In accordance with environmental injustice, sometimes called environmental racism, minority communities are disproportionately subjected to a higher level of environmental risk than other segments of society. Growing concern over unequal environmental risk and mounting evidence of both racial and economic injustices have led to a grass-roots civil rights campaign called the environmental justice movement. The environmental ethics aspects of environmental injustice challenge narrow utilitarian views and promote Kantian rights and obligations. Nevertheless, an (...) environmentaljustice value exists in all ethical world views, although it involves a concept of equitable distribution of environmental protection that has been lacking in environmental ethics discussion. (shrink)
Earthcare: Readings and Cases in Environmental Ethics presents a diverse collection of writings from a variety of authors on environmental ethics, environmental science, and the environmentalmovement overall. Exploring a broad range of world views, religions and philosophies, David W. Clowney and Patricia Mosto bring together insightful thoughts on the ethical issues arising in various areas of environmental concern.
Earthcare: Readings and Cases in Environmental Ethics presents a diverse collection of writings from a variety of authors on environmental ethics, environmental science, and the environmentalmovement overall. Exploring a broad range of world views, religions and philosophies, David W. Clowney and Patricia Mosto bring together insightful thoughts on the ethical issues arising in various areas of environmental concern.
According to Arne Naess, his environmental philosophy is influenced by the philosophy of language called empirical semantics, which he first developed in the 1930s as a participant in the seminars of the Vienna Circle. While no one denies his claim, most of his commentators defend views about his environmental philosophy that contradict the tenets of his semantics. In particular, they argue that he holds that deep ecology’s supporters share a world view, and that the movement’s platform articulates (...) shared principles. Naess, however, rejects this conception of deep ecology, and, moreover, he is compelled to do so because of his long-standing views on semantics. Naess’s semantics thus poses a particularly difficult problem for the first group of theorists who endorsed Naess. (shrink)
The growth of environmental ethics as an academic discipline has not been accompanied by any cultural movement toward sustainability. Indices of ecological degradation steadily increase, and many of the legislative gains made during the 1970s have been lost during the Reagan-Bush anti-environmental revolution. This situation gives rise to questions about the efficacy of ecophilosophical discourse. We argue (1) that these setbacks reflect, on the one hand, the skillful use of rhetorical tools by anti-environmental factions and, on (...) the other, the indifference (even hostility) of the ecophilosophical communitytoward rhetoric, (2) that since the linguistic turn in philosophy, no rigid line of demarcation can be maintained between rhetoric and philosophy, and (3) that rhetoric offers resources to the ecophilosophical community that increase its potential to effect change in society. (shrink)